Caroline Davis is a former science journalist with over 20 years of experience. She decided it was time to share her passion for maths with young people so sought out our support to find an ITT provider that offered part-time. She is now training to teach with National Maths and Physics SCITT.
The last time we spoke, she told us she was “excited and utterly terrified”. We’re hoping after her first week at training that she's still feeling excited but hopefully a little less terrified...
Congrats on making it to the end of your first week! I know you were feeling a bit nervous.
How are you feeling now?
I feel OK. Yes, I feel OK. Before I began, I was excited and terrified, but already, I am starting to see how my new life as a teacher will be.
I’m getting to know my way around the school, learning its rhythms and process and witnessing real maths lessons rather than reading about them in books.
I have met so many new faces: mentors, fellow trainees, other teachers, members of the SLT and of course students. And slowly, slowly, the excitement and terror are transforming into more nuanced emotions.
Great to hear you’ve met lots of new people and are settling in. It sounds like a lot to take in.
What surprised you most during your first week?
How different each lesson is.
The first day, I watched my mentor teach year 9 and then year 10. The atmosphere couldn’t have felt more different. The year 9s sat in silence and there was an edge of fear in the classroom. The year 10s talked constantly, bantering with the teacher and ignoring detention threats.
When I talked to her the next morning, my mentor explained that the year 9s were a new group for her and she was setting boundaries with them. She had taught the year 10s last year, so she and they were already comfortable.
And sure enough, that day I saw the year 9 classroom relax a little whilst the year 10s settled down and worked (mostly) quietly through a double lesson.
Well, they do say you learn something new every day!
Have there been any standout moments for you so far?
I’ve already fallen down a rabbit-hole.
I was due to observe a year 9 lesson on indices and thought I’d refresh my ancient subject knowledge via Google. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was looking for how to prove that the square root of any integer that isn’t itself a square is irrational. Utterly fascinating, I never knew that!
But of course, not much use to a room of 13-year-olds-olds getting to grips with place value.
I had to remind myself that my job will be to help them to know what they need to know, rather than transport them into the esoteric world of number theory.
Google is always there to help, eh? Just like Now Teach...
Speaking of, how did we help you prepare for your first week?
If anything has helped me feel prepared for starting training, it is the support of other Now Teachers.
Our WhatsApp group and subgroups buzz daily as fellow trainees share their fears, experiences and questions. Sometimes it is something that someone can answer.
Recently, the parent's chat took off when Now Teach announced there would be a session with teacher coach, Emma Kell, to answer questions about balancing parenting with teaching – clearly something we career changers are keen to learn more about!
“It is just good to know that we are not alone, and others are having similar experiences.”
It is still very early days. As a part-time trainee, I am trying to appreciate the slower start than some of my fellow trainees who are already starting to teach occasional lessons. But honestly, I can’t wait to get up in front of a class!
It’s so nice to see you embracing being a part of the Network and coming along to our events.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak to me, as I know you’re very busy! It’s been interesting hearing about the realities of teacher training and I'm excited to see you progress. Let’s pop something in the diary before Christmas.
Interested in hearing more from our Now Teachers? Come to our Career Change Webinar!